Belt and Road fund created to help SME’s expand in countries involved

Financing for small- and medium-sized businesses, taking part in China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative is lagging behind demand, and the financial systems in many of the emerging markets in the countries involved are still not sophisticated enough to cope, according to industry insiders.

That’s according to the head of two companies, Oriental Patron and Everbright Securities, who have teamed up with the Finance Centre for South-South Cooperation based in Hong Kong, to set up an offshore investment fund, aimed squarely as helping SMEs build business in the Belt and Road markets.

“Any business that made money in China back in 1980s and ‘90s would thrive in Southeast Asia in the coming years,” Hong Kong-listed Oriental Patron’s chief executive Gary Zhang Gaobo told the South China Morning Post.

“However, compared with their ‘going global’ efforts into mature markets such as the United States, companies doing business in countries along the Belt and Road are facing difficulties getting funded,” he added.

Li Bingtao, CEO of state-backed Everbright Securities International, also based in Hong Kong, said the Belt and Road‘s fully equipped financing vehicles such as like the Silk Road Fund, the Export-Import Bank of China, and China Development Bank, mainly back large-scale investments, made by state-owned companies.

Its first phase of the funding initiative is worth US$200 million, with redemption of investments expected to be five

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